Essentially Ajax provides a mechanism to exchange data with remote servers and place incoming bits into a page without the need to refresh the page.
This helped making web pages look and feel much more like desktop applications.
It dramatically expanded the web as an application platform and is a cornerstone of many service we’ve gotten so used to. (Imagine for a minute how Facebook would feel if it would reload the entire page on each click you make!)
Technically Ajax leverages a programing interface of modern web browsers exposed through an internal object named XMLHttpRequest.
Taking into account how much we take Ajax-enabled web sites for granted these days, and how much we value the importance of standards for its evolution, it’s quite intriguing that the XMLHttpRequest details have never been an official W3C standard, yet.
This might change soon: On November 19th, the W3C officially changed the status for the XMLHttpRequest specification to “Last Call”.
According to the W3C guidelines final comments will now be accepted up to December 16th, 2009 before the document will likely become an official W3C Recommendation.
We’ll keep you posted!